Relocating or Opening a Business Location: 5 Telecom Mistakes to Avoid
Are you planning to relocate or open a new business location?
Some of the most important decisions you’ll make during this process relate to your telecom infrastructure. You’ll likely need to purchase new equipment; choose a carrier for voice, data, and wireless services; and also design your network in a way that meets your current and future business needs.
Telecom is a complicated, dynamic industry. Even experienced information technology executives have trouble keeping up. So if you’re a butcher or a baker or a computer software maker – and you’re trying to juggle day to day activities with a long list of relocation tasks – you’re bound to make mistakes.
Petaluma resident Anthy O’Brien has seen what it takes to fix those mistakes—as well as how to avoid them altogether. Her firm, Top Speed Data Communications, helps businesses identify telecom needs, choose the right carrier, and manage the implementation process. As a telecom broker, Top Speed Data receives compensation from carriers and thus can offer its services free to clients.
Below is O’Brien’s list of common mistakes when companies implement telecom systems for a new location – plus how a telecom broker can help you avoid them.
Mistake #1: Shopping for Real Estate without a Telecom Plan
A new location offers an opportunity to design a telecom system from scratch–one that meets your needs today yet will be able to accommodate future needs.
To get the telecom system of your dreams, however, you need to put together a plan. And that planning process needs to take place BEFORE you start shopping for a site.
“Choosing the right technology partner is critical to your current and future telecommunications needs – you don’t want to pay for services you don’t need today, but need solutions to be scalable for your future needs,” says O’Brien. “An independent telecom broker can help your IT manager or CIO to identify business needs and determine bandwidth requirements, before you start shopping for a site.”
Mistake #2: Relying on Internal Resources
Many company executives assume their IT department has the knowledge and time to address their telecom needs. Or, if there’s no IT department, they have faith that someone in the organization—the Accounting Manager or Human Resources Director or Summer Intern—will be able to figure it out.
But, telecom is a business that is not easy to figure out. It involves rapidly changing technology, a multitude of players, and a lack of transparency about carriers’ service areas and capabilities.
“Most people, including IT managers, only know a few recognized carriers, while an independent telecom broker has access to hundreds,” says O’Brien. “Outsourcing to a telecom broker enables your HR, IT, and Finance team do what they do best. In the end, you’ll get more value not only from the solution you choose but also from your internal staff.”
Mistake #3: Asking Real Estate Brokers and Property Owners for Telecom Info
Real estate brokers and property owners are NOT reliable sources of information about a property’s telecom failings or potential. Here’s why:
- They often do not know the carriers that serve the building.
- They don’t know the right questions to ask or answers to give.
- They want to close the deal as soon as possible.
O’Brien recently worked with two companies planning to move into a building previously occupied by a single tenant. The two companies signed their leases without first consulting Top Speed Data—and thus did not know there was only one telecommunications box in the entire building. Had Top Speed Data been involved earlier in the process, the companies involved might have been able to have more leverage in negotiating their lease or might even have chosen a different property.
“There’s no use falling in love with the ‘perfect’ building if the technology you need is not available from any carrier or at too high a cost,” advises O’Brien. “A telecom broker has the ability to research all potential locations before you even visit the site.”
Mistake #4: Not Reviewing Your Current Carrier Contracts
Most telecommunications carriers will not let you out of a contract without an early termination fee. This is true even when you cancel because of a move and even if the carrier does not serve your new location.
It’s important, therefore, to carefully review all current telecom contracts before you start your commercial real estate search. Identify when your contract expires, what you need to do to cancel the contract or move service to a new location, and what fees you’ll incur if you terminate early.
“A telecom broker can help you read the fine print in an existing contract, as well as help you negotiate a new one,” explains O’Brien.
A telecom broker can also help you implement best practices–like making sure IT and Accounting review your telecom system at least twice a year to identify if there have been upgrades, disconnects or changes that would impact your bill.
Mistake #5: Underestimating the Time Required
Some telecom services require three to five months just for installation. That’s in addition to the time you’ll need develop your plan, design the system, order the equipment, coordinate with construction projects, and accommodate inevitable delays.
“Establish a time frame early on, and before signing a lease, check if your new landlord will let you delay moving in until services have been implemented,” advises O’Brien. “Be sure to develop a plan for temporary services if your move-in date is earlier than your implementation date.”
For more information, visit Top Speed Data Communications or call Anthy O’Brien at 707.242.8277.